When D.L.Moody, perhaps the most effective evangelist of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, was about to die, his final words to those who sat at his bedside were: “Earth is receding, heaven is approaching. This is my crowning day!”
No-one worked harder all his life for the glory of the King while he lived in his earthly tent in this temporary city. But no-one was more certain of the permanence of the place he was going to. He was looking forward to enjoying the glory of God, in the city that is to come for all those who are trusting in Jesus. Jesus is the only One who ever walked this earth who had been there, could give us a first-hand account of its reality and who promised to go back there and prepare a special place for each one of us, in the place where He would be (John 14:1-4).
Every other religious leader that there has ever been has had to speculate about what lay beyond the grave. Jesus is the only one who never had to speculate about Heaven – it was His home before He came to earth and dwelled among us for a season. It was more real to Him than anything else. So much so that in His final time of private prayer on earth, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was excited at the prospect of returning to share in the glory He had with the father before the world began (John 17:5).
The enemy tempts us to look at the world’s realities and focus our attention on them and cling on to them as if they are secure and permanent. But the reality is that for everyone who has died, earth’s securities proved inadequate for the journey that lay ahead of them and the graveyards of the world are adequate testimony to the fact of what we read in Hebrews that ‘here we have no enduring city’! It has always seemed strange to me that most people focus all their attention on trying to secure their earthly future, even though they know that it cannot go on forever, and put off till it’s too late their preparations for the destination that will be permanent and eternal.
I am praying as I write these words that we will be personally so impacted by the significance of this verse from Hebrews, that we will determine to live out our days in this temporary home in fellowship with the One, who came from Heaven, and witnessed so powerfully to its permanence. He is the only way to Heaven and He will be our guide when we get there!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for telling us so clearly about the realities of the place You had come from, and for so blessing us with the fact that You want us to join You there in a permanent city! Help me to live out my days in this temporary city, not only blessing You by being obedient to Your word, but realising that to live like that also equips me for the joys of eternity with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.